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Bird's Nest Earrings
by: Dwyn Tomlinson
This project is a direct rip-off of Jen's Bird's Nest ring - the exact same technique, but made smaller, and made into an earring.
In case you've missed the instructions, here's how it is made. Rings are made exactly the same way, just on a bigger mandrel. And usually with only one, large bead in the centre.
- cut about 18 - 24 inches of wire
- slide a drop bead on the wire, and move it to the centre of the wire.
- fold the wire in half - the bead is now in the middle of the bend
- holding both pieces of the wire in one hand with your thumb and finger, just below the bead, twist the bead with the thumb and finger of the other hand, rotating the bead two or three times. You now have a twist in the wire, securing the bead in place
- Repeat as above with a bead on either side of the first bead, keeping the 2nd and 3rd bead as close to the centre bead as possible
- Don't overtwist - the wire will weaken and break. If this happens, cut the beads off the wire and start again.
- Find something to use as a mandrel. A pen, pencil, chopstick are all excellent. You may note that the size of the loop is different for my two earrings. Between making the first (on a pen) and making the second - I lost the pen, and used a chopstick for the second (and the photos) that apparently was not the same size. In this case, do as I say, not do as I do!
- Now, stretch the centre section of the wire - with the beads, over the mandrel with the loose wire ends hanging down. Pic labeled "A." (Having run out of hands at this point, you can clamp the mandrel in a vise, or simply wedge it between your stomach or chest and the edge of the table, leaning into it slightly to hold it in place.
- Wrap the wire ends around the back (underneath) of the mandrel, and up the opposite sides, the left wire coming up on the right, and vice versa. You can wind through the middle of the bead cluster, and then keep going, wrapping the left wire clockwise and the right wire counter clockwise. This makes the loop. Wind each side about 3 times (for a total of 6 loops) Pic B.
- Bring one wire up to the top, and start to wind around the base of the bead cluster. Pics C and D and E and F. This forms the "nest." Wind one wire end in one direction - keep going until you have about 4-6 inches of wire left, and then do the same with the other wire, going the other direction. (I usually do half, then the other wire for half, then back to the first - but no need to over-complicate this.) Unlike most of the wire wrapping you do, the nest does not have to be uber tight - just wrapped tight enough for there not to be loops to snag.
- Finally, take those short ends, and poke one through the loop, and wrap around the base of the loop, next to the nest. Do several times, until the loop is secured and firm - trim the end of the wire, and repeat on the other side. Pics G and H.
- Add to earwire, and wear and enjoy!
You could build on this technique to make cluster drops for a necklace, or something a little larger for a pendant. How else can you think to use this?
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